Adelaide Jade Regent
The crumpled crane
Walking a bit dazed and in deep thought, Ameiko trudges up into her caravan and goes to throw herself on her bed, she quickly realises there’s something on her pillow; a small crumply paper crane, made using beautifully painted paper. The crane doesn’t match the paper, slightly torn, and unbalanced, the most you could say for the folding ability was “well I can see what it is”.
She picks it up and holds it in her lap as she sits down a bit puzzled at to why it was on her pillow, the doorway darkens as the shadow of Athebryn fills the room.
“Ah, i was worried you were gonna sit on it or not notice it, so i thought i’d better check on you.”
Ameiko tries to find the right words to say, without insulting the attempt by Athebryn, but she is not used to the motherly ‘good job’ speech, especially with Athebryn; she’s used to much better from him.
“It’s ok, you don’t need to say anything… i know that it is just so superb you haven’t got the words to explain it,” jokes Athebryn. He sighs.
“I know it’s rough, but it’s my first go, and while i would normally hide such failures away, and only present a properly finished piece i thought i should give this to you after our chat at ‘nipper bay’.”
“I don’t know much about royalty, princess or government…” he pauses, trying to come up with something to explain it, he smirks. “Did I ever tell you of the ‘King’ of Wispil?”
“No…” Ameiko knows that tone, she gets herself comfortable.
“Well Gnoman towns are not like human or Elven towns, sometimes we have a king, a commander, a president, a ruler, and sometimes multiple. The voting is never the same, if there is any. Before I left, the current Commander had finished his reign… or got bored of it, who knows, and it was up to him to decide upon the new ‘leader’ of the town. We’d not had any royalty for awhile, so he declared that ‘there is a crown, somewhere below ground, those get themselves dirty, shall wear and rule the cir-ty’ – yeah he wasn’t very good at rhymes! So everyone went amock, and there was holes everywhere, and it wasn’t until late in the evening that the King was finally announced. ‘King Here-here Boy’ took his throne that night.”
Athebryn pauses, waiting for the question…
“Ok, i’ll bite, why ‘Here-here Boy’?” Ameiko prompts the story.
“Well we didn’t have any crowns at the time, so the Commander got a hip bone of a horse quickly fashioned into a crown, not thinking much of it, the first person to dig up and hold the crown, was none other than a stray dog!”
Ameiko begins to giggle.
“When asked what his name was, the dog said he was always referred to as ‘Here-here Boy’. Lots of mayhem quickly pursued; it was lots of fun, the roads where terrible, covered in holes and everyone constantly howling, scratching and fighting over meat. When it finally came to me leaving town, I was forced to wear a kitten suit and be chased out of town by everyone barking at me. It was hilarious… insane… perfect…”
Ameiko is rolling around with tears of laughter, the image of Athebryn dressed like a kitten being barked at by other gnomes was too much. Athebryn quietens.
“But I distract myself. As you can clearly see, the human concepts of royalty and obligation are quite new to me, and I can’t fully empathise with a ‘given commitment’. But, I do understand leadership, and like any skill it just needs work.”
“I wanted you to have my first paper crane, to remind you when you are in doubt, that leadership is like any skill, the first time you use it, you’ll make mistakes, and it may not turn out perfectly, but given enough time and practise, starting off with the small things, there’ll be a time when you can fold an entire city out of paper.”
Ameiko’s posture softens, she lets out a small sigh. She turns the crane in her hand and a smile appears on her face…
“Are you really saying that my leadership is this bad?” She laughs.
Athebryn laughs, nods his head and starts to walk out the caravan.
Ameiko pounces on him from behind and whispers “Thank you Winkle, it’s beautiful.” She jumps back to her bed, pretending to try to make the bird fly, “Aaaaah, I can only spiral cause one of my wings is so huuuuge… crash!”
Athebryn smiles and ignores Ameiko’s continuing jestful onslaught. Once out of earshot, Ameiko folds down the crane and hides it under her pillow, keeping both her and Athebryn’s pride safe.